Starring, Logan

I feel like I still have so many posts I need to catch up on (hello, Disneyland!  Kindergarten graduation! And I’m sure there’s more that I’m not thinking of off the top of my head right now.)  But after today’s swim meet, I felt compelled to go back and look at pictures and the video of Logan’s first swim meet, which was two weeks ago.

Let me just start at the beginning of this story.  This is our third year to participate in summer swim team, but the first year for Logan.  I didn’t really ask him if he wanted to do it; I just signed him up.  It’s such a great activity, such great exercise, we are going to be there for Connor anyway, and while Logan already knew how to swim, I knew it would be a great way for him to learn the strokes and become a stronger swimmer.  Swim team starts in April, which in the past has always been plenty warm enough for outdoor swimming.  But this year was weird.  It was in the low 60s the first week of practice–way too cold for my southern boys to want to swim.  But we went for it anyway.  That first week of practice was filled with crying. (“it’s too cold!  I don’t want to do swim team!  It’s too hard!”)  By the end of week one, we were all frustrated.  One day, Logan had been placed in a lane with some of the strongest kids on the team and instructed to do drills that he had no idea how to do.  That was the day he climbed out of the pool, ran into the bathroom crying, and proclaimed that he was never getting in this pool again.  Logan is typically go with the flow, and we were seeing a stubborn streak I didn’t know existed in him!

I was feeling a good dose of mommy guilt that weekend.  Should I have signed him up in the first place without making sure he wanted to do it?  Should we let him quit?  What if he’s traumatized by swimming for life by this?  I had no idea what to do, but we eventually came to an agreement that he would try for at least one more week (and really try–not just cry on the side of the pool for an hour) and then see we’d how things are going.  And if he never wants to do a swim meet this season, that is fine.  He can just practice.  No pressure.  We talked to the coach and got him assigned to a lane that had some high school swimmers in the water as helpers.

Monday arrived, and despite all our pep talks and the agreement to try his best, it was the same old crying and complaining song and dance.  So I did what any mother would do.

I picked him up and dropped him into the pool.

Maybe it was a little harsh.  Maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do.  But you know what?  He swam across the pool completely unassisted and passed the swim test, no problem.

I thought my heart might burst with pride.

After that, he decided that maybe swim team wasn’t so bad.  We’ve practiced just about daily without any major complaining, and he’s grown into a strong little swimmer.  I don’t know if swimming will be his “thing”, but I’m so glad that I didn’t let him quit after that first week.  Sometimes we have to do things that are hard and that we might not like just because mom and dad say we have to.  I’m hoping there’s a little life lesson for him in there somewhere.

True to my word, I did not sign him for the first meet.  But to my surprise, when I suggested he swim in the second meet so he can get a ribbon and work towards the end of season trophy, he agreed to do the 25 free style.

I was a nervous wreck.  What if he freaked out?  What if he changes his mind?  Would I push him to do it, or just let him walk out?  These were my thoughts as he stood in line, awaiting his turn.

He bravely lined up in lane 6 (so happy he got lane 6 because he is obsessed with all things related to his current age.)

And with a coach by his side, he readied himself for his race.  On your mark…get set…


And just like that, he was off with his kicks flying, big arms swinging and his signature pause in his stroke as he takes a breath.

He finished strong, coming in second place!  I was so proud of him.  So proud.

He climbed out of the pool, saw my camera, and made the classic Logan face at me, which made me laugh and forced me to smother him with hugs and kisses.  I love this kid and this “don’t give me attention” face he flashes all the time.

If the pictures aren’t enough, here is a movie of the event.

So, after such a great performance at his first meet, and absolutely no issues at all at practice for weeks, it stands to reason that I could sign him up for another meet, and even add on an event, right?  Wrong!

We arrive at our meet this morning which is at a really nice, really large, really cold high school pool.  Logan sticks one foot in during warm-ups, breaks down in tears, and proclaims that he does NOT want to swim today.  It is way too cold and way to deep (14 feet is pretty intimidating to a 6 year old…)We were right back to the scene from the first week of swim.  I could not convince him to get in the water for warm-ups, but I figured when race time came, maybe he would just jump in and go for it.  His first event of the day was a freestyle relay.  He cried and fought me all the way to the start line.  He cried and fought me while his teammates swam.  He cried and fought when the coach came over for a pep talk.  He cried and fought and would not jump into the pool.  So I did what any good mother do, and what had worked before.

I picked him up and put him in the pool.

Only this time, he didn’t swim across.  He climbed right back out.

So I did it again.

And he climbed back out.

At that point, I gave up trying to get him in the water.  I felt so bad because his whole team was disqualified because he refused to swim.

I was admittedly pretty unhappy with him and his stubbornness.  The pool is cold to everyone, but all the other kids are just doing it anyway.  So frustrating!

About 15 minutes later, it was time for his 25 freestyle.  I tried a different tactic to get him in the water.  “Look, buddy.  I’m not going to throw you in.  If you don’t do it, that’s your choice.  But if you do jump in, you get to pick treats from the concession stand.  And we’ll all be so proud of you!  And I know it’s cold, but you’ll be done in 30 seconds and then you are all done for the day.  You can do it!”

Didn’t work.  No swim. No treats.  No happy dance or life lesson on overcoming fears.

It turns out that the whole issue was really how cold the pool was.  He just freaked out and could not get past it.  And just like the old saying goes, you can lead a kid to the pool but you can’t make him swim.  What, that’s not an old saying?  Well, it should be.  Next week, he says he’ll do his races since it’s at a different (outdoor) pool.

Ah…parenting.  It’s just a barrel of fun sometimes!

California+Patrick and Noel=Fun

I love Patrick and Noel.  They are seriously two of my favorite people in the world, and I’m so lucky that they are family!  What’s not lucky is the fact that Derek and I lived in California from 2000-2005, and Patrick and Noel moved their in 2007.  What’s up with that?!  I’ve been trying my best to convince them to move back to Texas, but so far all of my efforts have been futile.  I mean, I should be surprised.  He is the biggest dirtbag in the world.

(In our family, dirtbag is a term of endearment, by the way.  I’m telling you, I love this kid even if he refuses to be a Texan for Life. But he does live in a beautiful state with his beautiful wife near her beautiful family, so I really can’t blame him.)

Patrick and Noel drove up to Lake Arrowhead to spend the weekend with us.  There is a little amusement park near the town square–sidenote…I just sat here for a solid minute trying to think of what to call it.  Lake Arrowhead is a pretty tiny community and there really is a town square area although I don’t think that’s what the locals called it.   Anyway, on Saturday morning, we went to the amusement park where Camryn ruled the train.

Did you notice the upside down glasses?  I actually think she prefers to wear them this way.  More often than not, when she has her glasses on, she has them on upside down.

We played with the funhouse mirrors.

And as a grand finale, we drove the go-carts.

Can you see my face in that picture above?  That’s the face I made in all of the go-cart pictures.  Awesome.  I’m so glad that I’m so cool and so very photogenic.

After some afternoon rest time and a little more exploring around our condo, we headed out to do some hiking.  We timed our hike perfectly with the fog.

And it was, in a word, COLD!  It was in the 40s, which is like the middle of winter here in Houston.  We were not prepared for that kind of cold!  We taught Camryn all about the importance of layers.  She tried her hand at the art of layering.  Long sleeve t-shirt, check.  Tank top, check. Jacket, check.  Leggings, check.  Shorts, check. Socks and crocs, check.  Looking good, Cami.  Lookin’ real good.

The boys found the perfect sticks to use to practice their Jedi moves.

But in the end, Patrick was the ultimate Jedi Master.

The boys love Patrick.  Can’t you tell?  I love this picture, even if a little tiny part of me might be a little jealous that they took such a cute and fun picture with Patrick but on the rare occasion that I take a picture with them, typically ‘cute’ and ‘fun’ are not the words I would use to describe it.  I just need to be a little bit cooler, like uncle Patrick.

Actually, we did get a cute and fun picture of the 5 of us, thanks to the cool Uncle Patrick.

It was a great day.  A great day, indeed.

And as a grand finale, I leave you with this, two of finest facial contortions of all time.  We’ve been practicing our ugly faces for years, and I’m happy to say that I think we’ve finally mastered them.  Well done, Patrick, well done.

The perfect start to summer {Galveston Family Beach Photographer}

I didn’t realize that it had been over a month since I last blogged on here!  With a week of family vacation, a week of church camp plus the start of the HOT season here in Houston (a.k.a the season when no one wants to be outside taking family photos because of the sweat and mosquito factor), I ended up taking a much needed break from photo shoots.  This means that I was more than ready for last night’s session!  This family contacted me to take some photos of them while they are on vacation in Galveston.  When I found out that this big family beach vacation was a bit of a family tradition for them, I had two thoughts.  First of all, how fun is that?!  And second of all, was Galveston going to be everything they had hoped for?  They have vacationed in much…shall I say…prettier locations.  I’ve got love in my heart for Galveston beach, it’s true.  But when it comes to beauty, Galveston doesn’t hold a candle to the beaches of Florida!

But not matter how plain Galveston beach may seem, when you’ve got a fun family that loves each other, loves to laugh, loves the beach, and loves to vacation together, it really doesn’t matter.

When I knocked on the door of their beach house, I could already hear the kids laughing inside and having a great time.  The little boys (ages 6-9) immediately started showing me some of their dance moves, which I must say were pretty awesome. I just loved the personalities of all the kids, and how the adults were in full vacation/relax mode.  I truly love my Galveston sessions!

And one last one to share.  The glue of this sweet family, going on 45 years of marriage.  I love seeing firsthand what love can do in a family.  From these two, to a family of 5, to a family of 13.  Love it.

Thank you so much for letting me spend the evening with y’all.  I hope y’all enjoy the rest of your vacation!

once upon a time

once upon a time, we went to California.  We had the best time.  Seriously, the best time.

Then we came home and I went into what I refer to as my post vacation depression.  That means that there was a whole lot of wallowing on the couch, a whole lot of bad moods, some tears, and I couldn’t even look at my vacation pictures for a solid week because it made me too sad to think about how it was over.

Deep inside, I’m just like a little kid at Christmas.  The excitement, the build-up, and then….just like that it’s over.  Life marches on.

Life didn’t just march on this time.  It barreled forward.  The end of the school year came and went.  I wrapped up photo orders from my busiest month ever.  We dealt with the absolute worst attitude that I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing from one of my lovely children.  Actually, they all had some serious attitude problems, but one really took the cake on this one.  Truth me told, I had a pretty bad attitude as well.

But I’m back and feeling better.  We are slowly and surely starting to get into the swing of summer.  And I’m finally ready to blog about our fabulous vacation.

For tonight, I’m just posting this picture.  Beautiful (and cold!) Lake Arrowhead, California, and my beautiful family.